|OK,this is a tenuous link, but it is colourful. And chocolate.|
I've noticed the word appearing in Twitter biographies with increasing frequency, and being used copiously as a hashtag, but the variety of ways in which it is used and the spectrum of people using it is confusing. Also, I do like to poke the complacently smug with a stick every now and then, and I thought it might generate a good debate.
There is an old Jewish saying that goes: 'Wherever there are two rabbis gathered, there are three opinions'. It was very applicable to what followed. Libertarianism, said one, is the right of people to live where they want, in whatever country. Libertarianism, said another, means government looking after our borders and stopping people from living wherever they want. Libertarians, I was told, believe in smaller state control. Libertarians, I learned, are pro-military and believe we should spend far more on defence.
You get the picture?
As Humpty-Dumpty said in Alice Through The Looking Glass: 'Words mean whatever I want them to mean.' One wise Twitter egg threw into the mix that Libertarian was a portmanteau word, constructed from Liberty and Contrarian, which made sense in that it explained why everybody was automatically taking the opposite point of view from the person to whom they were talking.
By the end of my Twitter time, I'd met anarcho-communist Libertarians and hard-right capitalist Libertarians. I'd met Tory Libertarians who were hiding their true colours behind a useful tag, and a socialist Libertarian who wanted to declare Yorkshire an independent state.
The debate also attracted one of the ubiquitous 'JesuisCharlie' brigade, who planted his soapbox down firmly and proceeded to expound on 'Libertarians who were closet Racists'. We tacitly let him get on with it, passing him biscuits at intervals.**
So am I any the wiser? Nope. However I am very amused by the way some people stick a little understood concept that is open to very divergent interpretations into their Twitter biography or at the end of a tweet to make themselves sound clever and zeitgeisty.
John Stuart Mill ....... anybody?
** Similarly the very nice person who thought we were discussing Librarians - it takes all sorts to make Twitter.